Update following Canon James’ Departure from Staff

Friends and Colleagues,

Last Saturday, about fifty of us paused and gathered to say “thank you” to the Rev. Canon Alan James, former Interim Canon Missioner to Western Michigan’s Southern Region! We were honored to have his spouse, the Very Rev. Lisa Hackney-James, who joined us as we shared stories, laughter, food, and evening prayer to mark this special occasion. I write now with a quick update on the departure of and the bi-diocesan search for new regional canons to join our staff.

Before his departure last week, our staff worked with Canon James to ensure support was maintained for the congregations of Western Michigan’s current Southern Region and his other bi-diocesan responsibilities.

  • The Rev. Canons Valerie Ambrose and Tracie Little are temporarily supporting specific congregations in Western Michigan’s Southern Region and will contact their assigned congregational leaders directly to identify themselves and to check in. Val and Tracie are up-to-speed and engaged with all in-process transitions and searches. Kindly be mindful and patient with them as they strive to respond to issues.
  • The Southern Clericus will gather; the Rev. Darlene Kuhn (Mediator, Harbert) will facilitate their Sacred Ground series and the Rev. Joel Turmo (St. Timothy’s, Richland; bi-diocesan regional youth missioner – South) will coordinate Bible study.
  • Canon Katie Forsyth will offer temporary staff support to the Bi-Diocesan Creation Care Task Force.
  • Canon Forsyth will convene the team planning the 2023 Bi-Diocesan Convention.
  • Canon Forsyth will support the Plainwell Diaper Ministry as they consider and seek cooperating ministry status in the Diocese of Western Michigan.
  • The Rev. Joel Turmo will convene the task group to oversee the Resurrection Garden at the former Western Michigan Cathedral in Portage; Chief Financial Officer Sara Philo will offer staff support.

We ask for your prayers and patience as we navigate this interim period between the ministry of Canon James and the next innovative leader who will be called to join our community.

As I write, we are preparing for the first round of interviews with candidates for our bi-diocesan regional canon positions. We hope to welcome our first new canon within the next few months. Following the retirements of Canons Val Ambrose and Anne Hallmark, we will call two additional leaders to our staff. I ask your prayers for this process, our remarkable candidates, and the search committee.


The Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh
Bishop Provisional
The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan